Patrick Regan has kindly shared the material from his Robert Buchanan site with readers of the Victorian Web, who may wish to consult the original.

With slow monotonous tread,
    A Phantom hoary and grey,
While Heaven was shining overhead,
    He wandered on His way:

And still His thin feet bled,
    And His eyes were dim with tears —
'Surely at last,' He said,
    'My father in Heaven hears?

'Surely now at last
    My Cross is a blossoming tree, —
Evil and sorrow are past,
    My Throne is ready for me?'

Worn and wan and white,
    He gazed to Heaven and smiled,
And the restless wind of the night
    Slept, like a sleeping child.

Slowly along the dark
    Unseen by Men crept He,
But the Earth lay silently down to mark
    In the soft still arms of the Sea!

He came to a City great,
    Silent under the sky,
And the watchmen at the gate
    Beheld Him not go by.

Passing the empty mart,
    Creeping from shade to shade,
He found at last in the City's heart
    A Temple that men had made.

Dark at the Temple door
    The ragged and outcast lay,
And Lazarus wail'd once more,
    Weary and gaunt and grey.

And an altar-light burn'd there,
    And a litany sounded thence —
'Rejoice! rejoice! for all gods that were
    Are banish'd and vanish'd hence!

'And the only god we know
    Is the ghost of our own despair;
Gaze in the glass, and lo!
    Is he not mirror'd there?

'Strong as when time began,
    Creature of dust and breath,
God our Lord, the Spirit of Man,
    Crown'd with the crown of Death!'

And lo! from earth and sea,
    And the skies now overcast,
A voice wail'd, 'Woe is me!
    Death is the first and last!'

He went with silent feet
    Thro' loathsome alley and den;
He heard around Him from every street
    The moan of the Magdalen.

'How long, O Lord, how long,'
    He heard the lone voice cry,
'Shall they who wrought the wrong,
    While we lie lost, go by?

'Reach down thy hand,' it moaned,
    'To help the lost, and me, —
Rabbi, the Woman still is stoned,
    The Man still wanders free!'

Still and unseen crept He
    Into the prison-square,
And He saw the Upas Tree
    Of Man's Invention there . . .

High as the Cross it stood,
    Cross-wise its shadows fell,
And the sap of the tree was tears and blood
    And its roots sank deep as Hell.

'Rabbi!' again that cry
    Came from a lonely place —
And she who waited to die
    Had a Woman's form and face.

'Reach down thy hand,' she moaned,
    'To help the lost, and me, —
Rabbi, the Woman still is stoned,
    The Man still wanders free!

'The lie, the blight, and the ban,
    That doom me, men have cast —
By Man I fell, and my Judge, a man,
    Threw the first stone, and last.

'Master, master!' she said,
    'Hither, come hither to me!'
He left His blessing upon her head,
    His curse on the Upas Tree!

And all His soul was stirr'd,
    His tears like red blood ran,
While the light of the woeful Word
    Flamed on the City of Man!

And the heavens grew black as night,
    And the voice cried: 'Wander on!'
And the cold Moon's arms clung wild and white
    Round a World all woe-begone!

He walked upon the Sea,
    And the lamb-like waves lay still,
And He came to Calvary
    And the Crosses high on the hill.

Beneath His Cross He stood,
    Between the thief and the thief;
And lo, the Cross dript blood, dript blood,
    And never put forth a leaf!

With slow monotonous tread
    He passed from sea to sea.
'So long, so long!' He said,
    'And still no sleep for me!'

(From Song's of Empire)


Victorian Web Robert Buchanan Contents

Last modified 27 September 2002